A True Hero: Why I love Eric...

In late August, twenty-year-old Eric Clark, a close family friend was severely injured by an IED in Afghanistan  (Note: pic of him in the linked article is not for faint of heart). My family met Eric when he was about ten years old where his father and I were both US Navy Sailors stationed in Hawaii. My kids have been close friends with Eric for nearly ten years.

When I heard Eric was joining the Army and going overseas, I was worried but not overly so. I've known and worked with so many military who've gone to the Middle East and come back safe and sound. I've been over there several times, though not in a direct combat area, and came back safe and sound.

His injury was a complete shock to me and brought home that anything can happen to anyone at anytime, whether here or there. Eric lost a leg below the knee and several fingers in addition to multiple other injuries. His honor and courage brought him to be there, doing the job most Americans don't want to risk, but his true heroism is in the way he's healing. It's in the aftermath.

Eric is doing so much more than simply coping with his injuries. He's always had a crazy-funny sense of humor, and that humor hasn't left him. He's kept his spirits up, despite his challenges, despite his pain, despite everything. He looked forward to getting his first prosthetic (which happened Monday!), and he wants to be running again by February. I know he can do it, too. If there's any way, he'll make it happen.

No matter what he does with his career now, he will always be a soldier to me. He still has that fighting Army spirit, is still behind his division in the Middle East, cheering and motivating them to succeed and come back safely. That is heroic. That is strength of character. That is why I love Eric.

He's now recovering in Bethesda, MD, where he'll stay through his physical therapy. Anyone who'd like to thank Eric for his service can send letters and care packages to the address at Bethesda listed on the linked article above. If you're particularly moved by his courage, please donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. I'd be happy to tell Eric he's inspired someone to help out such a huge supporter of wounded veterans. Or you can write and let him know yourself :) Send him a message on Facebook!

What qualities make someone a hero to you? Who do you consider a hero and why?
Happy Labor Day, and have some books!
By MOTHart
Ah, yes, it's Labor Day, and I am only too happy to have the rest of the day free. I did have to work a few hours early this morning and yesterday morning, but mostly it's been a four-day weekend. I'm feeling good, so I thought I'd share. Today I'm giving away books! A lot of books!!



Choice number 1: Cassi is a good friend, and one of my RWA chaptermates. She writes sexy urban fantasy. Her next book, Shadow Rising, is out this month, Sep 25, and is available for pre-order. But you can get her first one from me for free :)







Choice number 2: Thea has created a delicious paranormal world, starting with the first book of The Elder Races series, Dragon Bound, one of my favs (along with Oracle's Moon)! This is a novella in the series. Her latest book, Hunter's Season, comes out this month, Sep 18.







Choice number 3: For those fans of historicals, here's one of the top authors in the genre, Tessa Dare. Her newest in the series, A Lady by Nidnight, just came out Aug 28. I met the lovely author at RWA National Conference and fan-girled, of course :)







Choice number 4: Anne is a new-to-me author, though this book is not her first rodeo. It is the first book of her new Dark Souls series. I also met her at the RWA Conference, and she's very friendly, personable, and encouraging!







Choice number 5: This is a postapocalyptic romance written by Nico. I met Nico at a book signing in SoCal along with his amazing partner in crime, Zoe Archer (also one of my fav authors). We talked for nearly two hours! He's such a great guy as well as a great author. He's also writing a series with Zoe for Avon Impulse. Look for the Ether Chronicles.






And choice number 6: Welcome to a strange world of supernatural creatures! Roland's creative descriptions, dialogue, setting, and historical eye keep you turning pages. You'll love Victor, his dry wit, and the fantastic cast of characters. I haven't met Roland face to face, but I've followed his blog, Writing in the Crosshairs, for a long time, and he's thoroughly kept me entertained. Roland, I love when the ghosts take over your blog!



Alright, to win, you don't have to follow me. I know--crazy, huh? I want you to follow if you like my posts, not to win stuff. But you do need to either leave me a comment or Tweet me @AngMcCallister to let me know you want to win. Let me know which book you'd like, and on Friday, I'll randomize and then contact the winners. Don't forget to tell your friends. Again, Happy Labor Day!

Major Fail... and then a success story!!!
Okay, so the A to Z Challenge was a fail on my end. I had some issues with Blogger that kept me from a couple of posts, and then I got word that I was exiled. Yep, exiled. As a Navy Sailor, I don't really get to choose where I go, and my orders came to head to San Nicolas Island, ye land with little internet and no cell service. Thus: shoulda, coulda, woulda. I am thoroughly disappointed with myself. I am here, though, at Point Mugu and ready to get back to blogging. Lol, living like a vagabond in the barracks, but I had to give up my apartment for, ya know, the whole exile thing.

At any rate, I have news. Oh, yes, good news. I took leave to attend the absolutely amazing Romance Writers of America's Writer's Conference in Anaheim and had the best time ever. It's Disney World for romance writers, without a doubt. I thought I'd died on the way there and landed myself in heaven--met tons of new people, fan-girled over fav authors, met blog and Twitter buddies, learned a lot about craft and publishing, and came home with over $1500 in free books, mostly autographed. Wow. That's all. Just WOW. Go, if the opportunity arises for you. That is my advice :)

While there, I met the smart, wonderful, fabulous Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill. It might have been my last minute scramble to get to my meeting with her on time, but I was so at ease with her, I didn't even need to hold my crutch (heh--my note cards). I felt really good about her. So we emailed back and forth a few times, and then I got The Call. And just like that, I am now represented by Nalini. Okay, well, no one ever said when the call came it would last an hour! But it was one fantastic, giddy hour, and if you've gotten the call before, you know what I mean. Did I forget to say it's like winning the lottery (and nearly as difficult)??? I think it multiplies your chances exponentially to meet agents face to face.

So what do you think? Are conferences effective, worth the price if you can swing it? Have you had more editor attention than agent interest like I have?

*PS, I have more good news, but it must wait until I have more information. Plus I have greatly missed being able to get on here and keep up with everyone. Glad to be back. Again...
A to Z Challenge : Funniest videos ever!

Well, maybe not funniest ever, but definitely the funniest I've seen in a while. These videos are posted by Nice Peter on YouTube. If you love silly humor and don't mind a little bad language, you'll love this.

The Epic Rap Battles of History feature opponents such as Sara Palin vs Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson vs Elvis Presley, and one of my personal favs, Master Chief vs Leonidus. I know this has nothing to do with Romance (my intended theme), but I had to share this. Hope you enjoy!

Seen anything funny on the net lately that you'd like to share? What kind of humor gets you laughing the most?
A to Z Challenge : Entangled Publishing
Well, shucks. I misscheduled my A to Z Delta post on Dating Disasters and thus missed a letter for the challenge. Lesson learned, folks. Now that I'm settled into my nights schedule at work, I can keep a better eye on these things.

While on leave to Washington last weekend, I attended the Rose City Romance Writers Spring Intensive, and I had the pleasure of meedting Liz Pelletier, editor and one of the founders of Entangled Publishing.

She entered the publishing business in an unusual way. After starting Savvy Authors (if you're an author and don't know about it, check it out. It's a fantastic resource with tons of affordable workshops and informative posts every month), she ended up with a small surplus of profit on what she'd intended to be a non-profit venture. So what could she do with the money that would help authors most?

She noticed the majority of authors weren't getting published. As anyone else would do *ahem* she developed a business model based on case studies she'd read on Boeing's success and gathered friends who shared the same vision of how a publishing company should be. Entangled pays higher royalties because of the management team's belief that the author should receive more of the profits for their work. They are not a digital first as some people assume, instead releasing print and digital simultaneously.

Entangled is one amazing publisher, a rapidly expanding one. They've recently added multiple imprints, similar to Category lines by Harlequin. In my opinion, they'll give Harlequin a run for their money some day, though there's plenty of room in the market that's been virtually untouched by publishers other than Harlequin. They've also contracted with a distributor to get select titles on the shelves at Barnes & Noble.

I think what impresses me most about this publisher is that despite the need for the bottom line (it is a business, after all), Entangled cares about and stands behind their authors. Liz shared a lot of tips and information on how distribution works. She has only a minute to pitch the books when she markets them, so getting a great, hooky pitch down to that length is a huge plus. Overall, I was quite impressed with this publisher. Of course, I also know someone published with them, Lisa Kessler, and she's had nothing but glowing things to say about them.

What publishers do you have your eye on? What do you think of Entangled's unique "it takes a village" model of publishing? Have you used Savvy Authors before? Do you think a small publisher can take on the big guns? What do you think they need to accomplish that?
A to Z Challenge : Casual Encounters

Don't act all innocent! I don't know a single person who hasn't at least perused Craigslist's personals section at least a few times. When you open the page, it even has a scent. Something like... desperation, lol. Alright, I'm not going to knock the site any further. I'll just point out that for women, using CL is like shooting fish in a barrel, and generally women don't need to post pictures to get responses.

Men, however, get the gamut of spam, links to pay sites, fake responses, etc., and they must post a pic to get any real responses. Unfortunately, they post the most lewd pics--ones sure to invite the wrong responses. Now, for those of you curious, I gleaned this information from a multitude of friends who have used the site or attempted to use it. Most never answer the responses they received from a post.

Believe it or not, I don't think all who post there are looking for a drive-by. I've seen plenty of posts where the poster seems to be looking for a connection of some sort, the potential for a continuing relationship. The rest of them seem to post out of boredom.

Has anyone posted--under Personals, not just Casual Encounters (I used platonic before and found that the general public has no idea what platonic means *shudders*)? Do you know anyone who's used the site to meet new people? What's the craziest personal ad you've seen posted anywhere? Do you think CL should even include a section like Casual Encounters under Personals? After all, they're not in the Adult Friend Finder business...

Yay! Day 3 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is complete. My post is a little late, of course, because I was driving home overnight from Washington. I got in around 7 am this morning after a seventeen-hour drive. Couldn't help myself. I had to have a little nap before I had to go to work. Thank you all for patiently awaiting my visits to your blog. I'll be making rounds shortly ;)
A to Z Challenge : Bromance
Uh-hmmm...
Technically the bromance pictured above isn't typical bromance behavior, but I couldn't help myself. They're hot and confident enough to hug in public. Wikipedia defines bromance as a close, non-sexual relationship between two or more men, a form of homosocial intimacy. I never really thought about the dynamics of such a relationship until I watched I Love You, Man and realized how important it is for men to have these kinds of bonds. Women can often take these kinds of relationships for granted because they're more encouraged for women, at least in my experience.

It can, however, go too far, enough to ruin other relationships. I suppose this means there has to be balance. From the comments on this post on The Nest, you can see there are pros and cons to the bromantic relationship.

Some more famous bromances in the public eye are Matt Damon/Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt/George Clooney, Tom Cruise/David Beckham, Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson, Tom Felton/Rupert Grint (yes, it's Draco Malfoy and Ron Weasley). Bromance is a frequent feature in anime as well.

Personally, I've seen the strongest romantic bonds formed among those men exposed to danger on a regular basis--military members, police officers, firemen. Danger is a great motivation to set aside differences and competitive natures.

Are you or your significant other in a bromance? When does a bromance go to far? Have you had any good / bad experiences with a bromance? Is it a necessary kind of relationship?

Alright. Day 2 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Once again, there is still time to get in on this great blogging experience and push yourself. Head over to the blog by tonight to sign up and join the fun! And a note to my visitors and followers: I'm still in Washington spending time with my kids for a few days (haven't seen them since October), so I'll be by your blogs after I return tomorrow.
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    US Navy Sailor and Romance Author. Repped by the fabulous Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill. My debut paranormal romance is available on Amazon, B&N, iBookstore, and Kobo!

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